Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Dj Slyce does an early Michael Jackson Tribute

Thanks Supreme, for reminding me about this routine. Dj Slyce is super relevant to this blog because although this is from his run in the 1997 DMCs, he recently came out of retirement and won the 2008 US DMC championship. So peep the technique, still fresh after all these years.

DJ AS-1 : Ready for the World...

Dj AS-One is one of my friends from Dj Geometrix's message board. He's from the DMV metroplex, he's a kung fu expert, he's got a fiance', he's a fan of the peace sign, he's a Skateboard Magazine packrat, he's an XBOX LIVE junkie, and he's one helluva battle dj. He won the first heat of this years DMCs in Fairfax. I thought it only fitting to feature him in the DMC New Orleans blog... Here is the interview, check it:

T5: So, where you from? And How'd you get into djing??

AS: I grew up in the DC suburbs, 15-20 minutes outside of the district. MD pretty much. I currently reside in rockville MD.

I met this dude one day in the late 90's, around 96-97' or so while skateboarding at the elementary school half a block up the street from my home. I was 15. he was an older cat, prolly 19 or so then and apparently just moved back into the neighborhood a block 1/2 up the street back in with his peeps. long story short, we became good friends and would hang out, write graffiti and skate all over the place. one night we ended up in Georgetown at a record shop named yoshi toshi's(?) i believe and although i didnt even have TT's yet, somehow he convinced me to buy my first slab of vinyl. it was a record by DJ Assault, "Dis bitch."

Anyhoo, being a skate video fanatic, the 98' DMC World Finals video caught my eye sitting in the glass counter. so i bought it! we watched it later on that night and i remember him commenting about craze's routine and was like, "ehhh. he's aight"(!) I on the other hand was pretty much blown away by what these guys were doing and I new then and there that i was gonna have to somehow get me some decks!

Coming from playing the alto sax since fifth grade, jazz band in middle school then picking up guitar and percussion instruments the summer before high school, i saw the turntables as an "instrument" first(.), as opposed to tools for mixing music with. which could be a good or a bad thing depending how you look at it...

I feel that in the beginning, for me, i lacked in basic mixing skills and jumped right into "turntablism" without realizing the amount of heart and dedication that it takes to get on the level of these guys i watched in the 98' DMC World tape. funny thing is, im that guy now that laughs at the dude who can do 3 click combo-variation-integration-flotation-scratches but cant 'mix' for SHiiiT. go figure...

AS-One and GW Theodore

T5: Dude, I jumped right into scratching and juggling too. I also had no concern for mixing in the beginning, crazy... So what was your first battle, and how did you place??

AS: yeah man, im sure there were a grip of heads who started out that way as well. i mean, these dudes on the world stage in 98 were killin it, it was impossible (4me) to at least not want to 'try it'.

My first battle was in 2002 for the Rockville store Guitar Center Spin-offs, winner goes to ATL for regionals. I actually won it, although I shouldn't have. I went up against this guy named RUIN (aka Donnie Darko [spankrock]) and i thought he killed it. he had a juggle with M.O.P's Anti Up that i thought was dope. anywho, I knew that i obviously lacked in skills/technique compared to him but i was told (by one of the judges) that my overall set, attitude and showmanship was what brought me the W (whatever that means.!?).

If I hadn't have won, i would have never went to ATL and gotten the opportunity to meet Mike Brie (aka Mr. Fred Funk) and Geo (the godfather himself)! not to mention DJ Smalls, Machette X and DJ Lord...

So while down there, Geo tells me about this session at some kids house a couple weeks away in VA that i should come to. turns out to be at I-Dee's crib and thats where i ended up meeting a lot of the DMV fam like Ty Handswell, Fernie, Fein, Oz, Waheed and others! It was pretty much a wrap from there...

T5: That guy you beat I believe goes by the name Lord Darko now. That's dope the way that works out, it's like had you not won that battle, you might not have ever met Geo and you might not be sitting here with a ticket to the US Finals.

You mentioned skateboarding earlier... Still skating?? What role did the skate culture have on your development as a Championship dj??

AS: Pardon me, LORD Darko. i stand corrected! But yeah, I'd be lying if i said that i still skated-skated. i dont think 3-5 times a year counts. does it? I do however keep up with the scene for sure. Transworld Skateboard Mag has been my most beloved toilet reader for just over 10 years now! I have pretty much every issue since 98'. I'm not a hoarder or anything either I swear. I just cant find it in my heart to let them go... Nowadays, I get to live out my fantasy pro SB career through EA's Skate2 on xbox360, Gamertag: DJAS1, whats good!?

Come to think of it, skating has taught me so much about myself. about passion, about pain, about limits... sounds corny, I know but like if I had never been so passionate about skateboarding, I would have never known what it actually felt like to be that passionate about something or anything in the first place! did that make sense? Skating, like DJing, like Golf even, for the most part is basically a single person, focused on one particular thing, at one particular time. like a constant battle between you and yourself. crowd or no crowd, its just you and your tools, doin what it do.

The competitive side of me, however, is safe to say came from my martial arts backround. I trained in a couple different northern shaolin kung fu forms for about 5 years with my cousin and his friends. from age 10-15 actually. We were pretty hardcore. it was to the point where my grand father (r.i.p) would drive a bunch of us from the academy up and down the east coast as far down from FL, all the way up to Boston for these martial arts tournaments. EVERY WEEKEND during the summer for 3 consecutive years. Sparring, forms, weapons forms, you name it, we entered it. With some of these dudes i used to train with, we literally were like the real life cobra kai! My short arse actually had about twelve 1st place trophies that would literally tower over me, it was friggin ricokulous to say the least. my cousin actually just opened up his own Jiu-Jitsu academy in DC a couple months ago, shouts to him.

Dj AS-1 The man behind the myth

T5: Note to self: Don't piss Dj AS1 off, he can kill me. Battling isn't for everyone. I guess that's why I hold Battle Djs in such high regard. Any memorable battle experiences you'd like to share?

AS: hahaha. nah man, that's the thing, I am so not that guy. never really was... I just really enjoyed the actually art of it I guess.

I'd say my first battle for sure. the 2004 and 2005 DMC Delaware Regionals and definitely the 2005 DMC and Guitar Center Nationals. The GC battle was craaazy man, I mean 5k+ at the Wiltern theater in LA. Kanye, Talib, Common and Madlib on the bill. Half of the Beat Junkies and Revolution on the judging panel. Not to mention Illtrax VS I Emerge! They had us up in there like some straight rock stars or some shit! oh yeah, i cant forget the 2003 DMC US Finals at Nations in DC! Best battle i've ever been to! hands down.

T5: The GC Nat'ls with Kanye, that was way before he became a gay fish. Playing in front of 5k ppl is craaaazy, and I remember the 2003 DMCs, that was the year Fernie won... Good times!

What djs/musicians do you admire and why??

AS: Good times for sure!

I have a huge amount of respect for a group of guys i used to play in a band with named Saint Jude. most talented and passionate group of musicians I've ever been close to, period. we were so close to getting signed i could taste it. Although things have been on hiatus for a hot minute now, I really hope that one day we can still officially put out the music that we created when we were doing are thing. it was truly beautiful... Steve, John, Ed, Julian. If your reading this, I love you guys (no homo)!

T5: No homo indeed... I hope I hear more from Saint Jude. I'm sure y'all will work it out once you win the US Finals on Aug 1st.

Any projects on the horizon? Where can we catch you on the regular?? And any shout outs to the world?

AS: I've been mostly workin on my DMC routine since January. It's a custom...

Funny story is, I slacked a bit on getting them pressed up and by the time I heard about the Fairfax Regional, I still hadn't ordered them yet. long story short, I ended up receiving the records through the mail the DAY AFTER the battle. so I literally ended up putting my routine together the night prior within like 2 1/2 hours. I used a couple routines I've done before and a couple new routines that i've never done in public. then i brought my tables to my work the next day, went through the routine about 4 solid times and then realized that I had to hit the road!

In between working full time, spending time with my fiance and practicing, I spend free time trying to use and learn Ableton Live. The performance aspect of the program really is what makes it a ton of fun for me. setting up the program to act how you want it to act in a live situation however, can be a huge pain in the ass! I use it in a similar way that DJ Enferno or Kid Beyond would maybe use it, like a third turntable, sampler or a glorified looper even. latley, since the DMC regional I've been in the lab trying to put together a show called The Audio Circus that I could maybe get gigs with at some point. some of the progress that I've made since i began the project can be viewed on my youtube page! yay.

Don't get it twisted though, I'll be reppin that hardcore ishhh this time around the finals. DJ's BEWARE!

You can catch up with AS One through his myspace, myspace.com/djas1 Also follow him on twitter @djas1. He plays XBOX 360, so his gamer tag... DjAS1... Hit dude up. He'll destroy you in Skate 2 and Street Fighter 4.

Monday, June 29, 2009

What a weekend, so much to talk about!

But unfortunately I'm sick... So I'm laying low until this passes. But I do have a lot of stuff coming up for you: a couple of interviews, some features on local record stores, my Dirty Coast feature... Until then, I'll leave you with a Doogie video!

Doogie Gras from lil Doogie on Vimeo.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Craze 1999 DMC World

Craze has always been one of my favorite champions. His style is so dynamic!!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Michael Joseph Jackson (August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009)

You were such a huge part of my childhood. I wanted to be just like you... This is how I will always remember you. I shed tears when I heard the news...

R.I.P. You will surely be missed by me.

Turntablist Transcription Methodology

Way back in 1999, I stumbled upon this website called Battlesounds trying to learn new scratch combos. There were all these quicktime videos of Q-Bert demonstrating these "next-level" scratches. Well there was also this little PDF booklet attached to the site. It was called the Turntablist Transcription Methodology or TTM for short, and it explained scratches in a linear fashion on a grid or staff.

"Wow, this is is pretty groundbreaking. There are so many possiblities, there's no limit to where this can be taken!!!" I said to myself.

Over the next few years, I used it frequently. Mostly when I'm trying to figure out a new scratch or trying to learn a new rhythm. I always wondered how widely this was used or if any other people even knew about it. Well when the movie Scratch came out, there was a part that briefly covered it. On the DVD special features there's even a Rob Swift demo of a written TTM routine with the written scratches scrolling at the bottom of the screen.

"Damn, now maybe it'll catch on more..."

Well, fast forward to 2007 when Thud Rumble's Scratchlopedia Breaktannica was released... There were over 100 new scratch techniques outlined in this DVD with only a short explanation which often times was vague or wrong. I found out later that the DVD was rushed into production and some of the scratch explanations never got to be edited or revised. So I set out to try to figure out some of these elusive scratches. With my TTM in hand, I was led to the skratchlounge.

Skratchlounge is the message board that accompanies Skratchworx, and is run by one of the original UK Turntablists Mark "Gizmo" Settle. Skratchworx handles all things dj. They post updates on new product releases and reviews of new dj gear. It's a super informative site and I actually bought my last mixer based on Skratchworx reviews.

Well, I joined the Skratchlounge because there was a Scratchlopedia Breaktannica help thread. When I got on, the thread was at about ten or eleven pages. There seemed to be a couple of scratches in particular that were really dynamic and baffling to all. Well what was the common denominator in our discussions??? It was the TTM. Sure enough, on a scratch message board populated by deejays all over the world, we were all using the TTM to bridge all language barriers. Awesome!!! I was prepared for this discussion, and I felt there was much for me to take away from this as well as much to contribute. I had been using the TTM to figure out scratches for almost ten years at that point, so it was only natural that I began contributing to the discussion.

Well over the next year or so, I learned so much from this discussion that it took my scratching to a level never before thought possible. I learned that some of the scratches I thought I was doing correctly were wrong, and some were right on. It was only through the understanding of the TTM that I was able truly learn, understand and dissect each indiviual scratch.

So I want to take time out now and thank the creators of the TTM, John Carluccio, Ethan Imboden, and Raymond Pirtle. I'd also like to shout out my Skratchlounge family who helped take part in these discussions over the past two years. Thanks, Dj Rags, Ritchie T, Johnny 1 Move, Alkivar, Gizmo and OKST.

Check out Skratchworx @ www.skratchworx.com and skratchlounge @ www.skratchlounge.com Also check out the Turntablist Transcription Methodology website @ www.ttmethod.com

It's coming... Sooner than you think!!!


Official Event Photographer:

For the out of towners... Here's the weblink for tickets online:


It's about two weeks away... Hope to see you there!!!!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Black Swan: The Queen Of Louisiana Dubstep

Roxanne Hare aka Black Swan is possibly one of the sweetest and most unassuming people I know. One of the most amazing things about her is when she steps behind the turntables, there is a constant fear of neck breakage. She has always had the knack for finding and playing some of the most incredible music, and carving out her own personal style. She's moved on from Drum & Bass to championing Dubstep here in Louisiana. I caught up with her via Facebook so I could interview her. Here is the transcript:

T5: First let me lead off by saying that you're AWESOME and I'm incredibly excited about what you're doing for Dubstep here in the south. Why dubstep?

BS: No, you're awesome. I love bass, basically. Ridiculous bass. Dubstep was sort of an accident for me. Of course, I had been spinning DnB for quite a while. A few years ago, I started jamming to mixes by some guys in Texas. At first I felt like I was cheating on drum and bass. But more and more, the sound grew on me. Then, many drum and bass producers I knew started making dubstep, and the rest is history. I really love that the sound of dubstep has changed and opened up. There is such huge variety out there - there truly is a style of dubstep for everyone.

T5: Yeah, Dubstep is really being recognized here in Louisiana. You are a big part of that. Tell me about Louisiana Dubstep.

BS: Louisiana Dubstep is an organization where like-minded people can share their love for the genre. It's something I started with the purpose of connecting with others and letting people know what's going on, because there wasn't a centralized place to get info. For show dates, mixes, news and more, people can visit www.myspace.com/louisianadubstep. We've got some exciting things in the works, including a logo, merchandise and (more) shows. The birth of a scene is an exciting thing to witness!

T5: The birth of a scene IS exciting. You must be really proud. What musicians/djs do you look up to??

BS: Anyone who knows me knows I am a huge Bjork fan. What they might not know is how big of an impact she's had on my musical life. I was always into EDM, but being a fan of hers exposed me to a variety of producers who were doing her remixes in the early to mid-1990s. The thing I found so amazing about that process was that the remixes weren't just watered-down pop tunes for clubs. They were actually more like rearrangements, sometimes with the vocals redone, with the wildest combinations of beats and instrumentation. It is partially through those remixes that I discovered artists such as Plaid, Black Dog, Mark Bell of LFO, etc. Although I was already hooked on drum and bass, her work with Goldie, Dillinja and Photek certainly excited me and shaped what I ended up doing with music. I've wondered if Bjork listens to dubstep - I'd love to ask her that question! As for DJs, I'd say I've been influenced more by locals than anyone else, and it's a long list of people whom I consider to be great friends. I pretty much look up to any local DJ who pushes the scene in a positive direction.

T5: I knew you were gonna say Bjork!!! I LOL'd at that response. So what's on the horizon?? What would you like to see happen to the scene in saaay one year from now?

BS: For some reason this is a hard question for me. I think that's because I don't really think of dubstep in terms of "the scene" but more in terms of the music. I hope that doesn't sound cliche, but it's true. My goal has always been to share my excitement and get other people as excited about dubstep as I am. It's a great feeling when someone who is normally a house head or a breaks fan, etc., tell me "I don't normally listen to this, but I love it!" What I would like to see is more people loving the music and totally going nuts at shows. I've witnessed this many times, and it's a total high! I'd also like to see some more dubstep headliners play shows here. I've got tons of people in mind. Louisiana is ready!

T5: Tons of people in mind?? Like??

BS: If I tell you, I'd have to kill you. ;=) Let's just say I'm working on a great headliner for Nola right now, and I'm using Swamp Wamp (a dubstep event held every other month at Sadie's in Lafayette, 2nd Saturdays) as a way to bring in regional talent. I plan and organize shows as much as time and logistics allow - which basically means I'll be able to do a handful of good shows a year.

T5: I can't wait for the news!! I really think Louisiana is opening itself up to new and different things. I'm glad you're spearheading Dubstep here. Where/when are you playing next? And where can we buy/download some mixes??

BS: I usually keep a running list of gigs on my myspace page (www.myspace.com/blackswan
dnb). My next gig is for Smurl's "Enduragroove" at Sadie's in Lafayette on July 4. After that, "Keep it Moving" at the Dragon's Den in Nola on July 18, Bass Massacre in Nola on Aug. 1, "Afterlife" in Dallas on Aug. 15, "Dubstep vs. Drum n Bass" (my bd party) on Sept. 5 at the Dragon's Den, "Earthdance" in Austin the weekend of Sept. 26, a Kinetic/Louisiana Dubstep show Oct. 3 in Nola, "Swamp Wamp" Oct. 10, and another show in Nola on Nov. 28. Kind of a crazy schedule ... As for mixes, there are several posted on the Louisiana Dubstep myspace page from me and some other DJs in Louisiana. You can also hear dubstep on my radio show, "Swanstep Radio," on DubTerrain.net every Sunday night from 9-10 p.m. Central.

T5: Gravy baby!!! So any last words, shout outs???

BS: I'm so glad you asked that, because I've been trying to find the right place to pay respects to a good friend, Jamie Warmack, who passed last summer. Jamie was the main person I was working with to start this "movement" in Louisiana. Aside from being a helluva cool guy and good friend of many years, he was one of the few people I knew with whom I could share conversations about the music, artists, production, etc., and bounce ideas off of. I owe a lot to him because he was willing to take a chance on something new and make it happen. He is a big inspiration behind Louisiana Dubstep. And, of course, there are so many other awesome folks whom I am blessed to consider family! Some of those include Below C Level, Louisiana DnB, Rules of Culture, Kinetic Productions, Sinthenasia, Microterrorizum, Brandi Raves, my family and more ... . Thanks so much for the opportunity, and much respect!

Y'all can catch up with Black Swan and all the Louisiana Dubstep updates at www.myspace.com/louisianadubstep">Louisiana Dubstep Myspace Also check out LouisianaDnB.com !!! It's exciting to see someone with enough vision and forethought to introduce an entirely new form of music to a place as culturally diverse as Louisiana. Stay up and look out for the big headliners, I'm sure they will knock your head from your shoulders.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

It's hotter than hot here in NOLA

Not sure what that shade of pink is, but it's not good.

Kool Keith is from Space...

I'm convinced. This cat has got some alien DNA. For more evidence go and listen to the Dr. Octogon Lp.

Monday, June 22, 2009

D.O.N. Commercial-Free Broadcast

Don Purvis is the dictionary definition of unsung. I met him for the first time a couple of years ago when I bought The Basics. Not really knowing what to expect, I was struck by the cover art which featured an MPC and a Playstation.

"What?? He's making beats on MTV music generator!? How interesting! This could either be really great or really awful."

Well, it seems neither held true because, The Basics was phenomenal. It stayed in my car CD player for over a month. The Basics was completely written and produced by D.O.N. I became captivated by D.O.N.'s wordiness, the clarity of his diction, and his positive messages. I re-visit the Basics about once every couple of weeks and I can still listen to the entire album from start to finish, not daring to skip ahead.

Well, when I heard about the new EP I had to get a copy of it. My first attempt to listen was twarted by someone sitting on the brand new CD and cracking it in half... Blast!!! Well, when I went to visit Aaron at Dubla Studios, he gave me another copy. I immediately put it into the CD player, afraid to have this copy meet the same fate.

Well... It seems he's left Dubla, to the production duties on this one, and Sqratchmo is always solid on the cuts. Of course I'm looking forward to hearing more from D.O.N. So here goes...

As the intro sounds off... "This is a commercial free broadcast..."

The first track "Brand New Day" is an upbeat jam laced with horns, and the curious sound of vinyl crackle throughout. D.O.N. starts us off with the happiest jam first. The song's message is more about maintaining your cool and staying positive amongst a world of stress and the evils of the everyday world. The track ends with D.O.N. still rapping as the music fades out. I've always loved this technique, it adds a sense of mystery and frivolity to a track.

From this point on, the tracks seamlessly blend together underneath strong drums that are at times tribal. Dubla pulls samples from the most obscure sources, and from song to song it's a mix of jazz, African, psychedelic, hip hop, spoken word and odd samples. His production reminds me of Madlib/Metal Fingers.

D.O.N. marches through every track like he's on some sort of mission. He poses moral questions, throws himself back to the early era of Hip Hop, demonstrates his mastery of the english language and in other words he's being himself.

After about ten listens now, I'm still discovering certain subtleties in his presentation. What I like about this album is the fact that it's just him (as was The Basics except for a brief Paul Barman bit in the intro), no cameos. Also the length of the tracks are exactly where they need to be. Only two tracks on the EP clock in over three minutes. This is the kind of album that is perfect for a trip across town. While it's listed as an EP, eleven tracks used to be an LP not too long ago. Now people want to put twenty-five tracks on a CD, which completely dilutes any greatness that the album may contain. Finally someone is getting it right.

This is music for the thinking man. D.O.N. isn't for everyone, that's for sure. But if you're tired of the status quo and are longing for the days when rap music made a difference, D.O.N. will satisfy.

I know Don Purvis. He's a new father. He's a regular working Joe. He's got problems. He gets discouraged. He's a Christian. His struggle, is our struggle. This is his endearing quality. For a man who goes to work every day just to put food his family's table, he's still got the time to write and record some of the best Hip Hop in the world today. He's not rich. He doesn't live off of his music, he works to live! The defining quality of his music is the fact that the more you listen, the more it opens itself up. After a while, new words seem to spring forth like water from a fountain. Wordplay that previously went unheard peeks around a corner like a playful child. D.O.N.'s music isn't happy. It's brooding and contemplative, and at the core it's honest. It reflects one man's struggle to maintain a rap career, whilst all around him are lesser caliber rappers garnering more acclaim for dumbed down music that promotes ignorance. D.O.N.'s music will never be pop. Nor will he ever win a Grammy, not in this world at least. I can only hope that he begins to sell more records. I hope that in this world, he can tap into the audience of lost souls searching for a more meaningful listening experience. D.O.N. will not disappoint. He makes the kind of music that invites you cleanse your mind. He's a underdog that you always want to root for. He's just a regular guy, who just happens to be one of my favorite rappers.

You can find D.O.N. on myspace at myspace.com/dontheworker504 . You can follow him on twitter @dontheworker and he's also got a Facebook. His albums are available through cdbaby.com.

Read More... (Graffiti Appreciation)

So when my friend Jeremy lived in town, he told me about this guy who was a totally insane writer. He said he wrote Read, Reader, Read More and Bo(a)nes... He's been basically canvasing the city and everything I see him do is textbook. So fresh and so clean!

Really, he's just killing it. Take a look around. There is more, and it's everywhere. I've been getting a whole lot of feedback from random people about how they think the "Read More" message is cool, and how they want to tell him how cool it is. Well, here's your chance...

Friday, June 19, 2009

John Swan vs. Dj Supreme (Leaked Footage)

Having never met John Swan, I will say he looks just like Milli... Or is it Vanilli?? Someone in Hollywood needs to cast him in like a Fresh Prince-ish show... I would watch it. On to Supreme. I'm fairly sure he invented a new body trick in this video. Pay attention to the backwards-double-elbow-double-middle finger move in the second round. I think this move should henceforth be known as THE SUPREME...

DMC 2009 Battle for Supremacy / John Swan v. DJ Supreme from Noisemaker Media on Vimeo.

Off the Dome... Dj MC Microphone's MC Battle

Dj MC Microphone might just be a little crazy...

He asked me to judge this...

Wow, it's been ages since I've judged an MC battle and if it's anything like last time, the final round will decide itself. This is such a great event, I love the way he pairs local producers AND live instruments. Last month, in the final round he had the band switch to 5/4 and 7/8 timings. One of the rappers in the final round couldn't count it. It was borderline comedy on stage. I hope the same sort of hilarity goes down tonight. I'm sure I'll hear my share of ya mama snaps, digs about banging dudes girlfriends, the obligatory making fun of the clothes, and of course who could forget the gay jokes...

I love hip hop... Just so ya know.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Twitter...Some people still don't get it...SMH

Man, I've been finding a lot of people who STILL don't understand what twitter is. Case in point: Last night I run in to a guy I haven't seen in a good while like five years. I know it couldn't have been any longer than five years because he initially contacted me about doing a feature in documentary film through my myspace, and my myspace is around 5 years old. Well he just pops in on the spot last night in the middle of my set, completely ZOOTED out of his mind.

Him: "Hey man, whaaaaat's goin on??"

Me: "Uh, not much man... Deejaying."

Him: "So man, how ya doin?"

Me: "Good, kinda worried about the Iranian Elections."

Him: "You wanna little pick me up?"

Me: "Like a Red Bull??"

Him: "Noooooo man, some cocaine!"

Me: "I'mma have to pass on that, lemme check my twitter feed to see if there's any news on Iran."

Him: "Oh, twitter... '8 am, I'm shittin' 9:30 am 'I ate some cereal', '10pm I'm shittin'"

Me: "Dude it's not like that..."

Wes B: "I twitter about everything except THAT."

Him: "Oh are y'all really on twitter... Uh, that's cool."

It was like he'd never met anyone who really used it, and he and his friends probably made fun of it. But now staring me in the face while I'm checking twitter to see about the uprising in Iran, he seemed to change his tone.

This reminds me of an interchange I had on twitter earlier this week, about some drama that started because people don't understand how to read the twitter feed. The drama was only compounded by a less than favorable write up of a performance on a blog.

This brings me to my point. Some people just don't get it. They don't really get the entire concept of social networking. I suspect those are the same people who ruined myspace with constant "hey check out my music" comments. Their myspace's all became commercials for themselves. For me, in the beginning, it was like that also. It was also like baseball card collecting in the sense that I would try to find every band, group, artist, politician, famous person, etc... and collect them. Like I could put them all in a shoe box, and look at them when I felt like it.

I eventually realized that social networking IS all about connecting with people, and having them connecting with you. That's really hard to do if ALL you're doing is talking about yourself. No one wants to watch a commercial for YOU. We all want to be heard, and we all want to be seen, known, admired & appreciated.

That brings me to twitter with it's 140 character simplicity. Almost anything can be expressed through these 140 characters. It's enough characters to tell a joke. A person can link to videos, your myspace, your facebook, funny pics (via twitpic), your blog. Someone can tweet about taking a crap, or walking to the store, but no one wants to follow someone living such a mundane life. Twitter about nothing, get no followers. It's all about being relevant, witty and dare I say "follow-worthy". I've made more connections with people through twitter and Facebook once I realized the simple truth, that if you open your eyes and learn about people, they will in turn want to learn about you.

Also check out myspace.com/tonyskratchere, also facebook.com/tonyskratchere and twitter.com/tony5kratchere

Don't over promote yourself! Don't become SPAM!! If no one's listening, maybe you're not saying the right things or talking to the right people.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Shiftee meets I-Dee... (Adventures in Miami)

I love this video... Shiftee should get a job with the National Geographic channel doing voiceover work. At least he has a fallback career if the whole "Dj Championship" thing doesn't work out!

You can catch up with Dj Shiftee at his myspace myspace.com/djshiftee also follow him on twitter @djshiftee

Lawrence Parker is caught in Traffic

Lawrence Parker is a busy dude. Between running his own shoe boutique, Traffic, making music, and promoting events like Streetwear Sundays and the Sneaker Fiend Expo, you should be glad he took time out to give us an interview. I caught up with him late last weekend, and he showed me a portrait of someone with tons of pride, big goals, and the inititative to accomplish those goals. Check it...

T5: You've been in the scene here in New Orleans for a good while. How'd you get started, and who'd you come up with?

LAW: I started out as an artist, and I was never satisfied with the production so I started producing. I started a record label called All-Star Records & CrackTracks Productions. I started out producing for a few No Limit & Cash Money artists. Then I started producing for Soulja Slim, BG, Magnolia Chop, Sqad-up, Raw Dizzy, VL Mike, C-Murder, Choppa City Boys, really I've produced for 95% of New Orleans artists.

T5: Damn, that's pretty much a who's who of New Orleans legends right there... I don't know if you remember, but we actually met for the first time about 8 months ago in front of Re:Fresh... You had on those black/cement AJ III's. It's no secret that the sneaker culture and hip hop are completely intertwined, so on that note, how Traffic come about??

LAW: Traffic came about from a lifetime of being into the culture of fashion, music and drawing. I'm good at all three. After Katrina, I moved to Dallas, NYC, then to Atlanta. I surrounded myself with people who live the lifestyle everyday in an area called Little Five Points.
I use to shop in Wish, one of the hottest boutiques in the US, so I wanted to open one in Atlanta, but it was smarter to open in New Orleans. So I rushed down and opened Traffic within 2 months. The FIRST Streetwear Boutique in New Orleans.

The Traffic Skate Team

T5: It seems like Katrina was a curse and a blessing. I don't really wanna get caught up too much on the storm, but it seems like it really brought the best out of some people. It also seems to have brought out a new sense of local pride and a spirit of togetherness that the city hasn't seen in a very long time. Care to comment on that?

LAW: It has to be all about getting together now. There's been to much hate in New Orleans for too long. We should have more than one artist representing the city. So now its time to put all our resources together to make shit happen down here. Yes, the storm pushed people
out the city, but it showed us how other cities are getting things done.

: Yeah, you mentioned living in Atlanta... A whole lot of artists are surviving off of their art in ATL. Is that why you started Streetwear Sundays?

LAW: Yes. And it's growing because most of what's going around the world started here in New Orleans. So it only right to bring it back home. I just want to build an avenue for our young artists, designers, musicians, whatever it maybe to have a spot to display what they're doing.

The very first Streetwear Sunday...

T5: Yeah, I give you mad props for promoting local cats. Speaking of local cats what's your connection with Curren$y??

LAW: Curren$y is cool. I produced "look up to the jets" on his album as a hidden track. FIRE! I'm also working on a few other mixtapes with him that's droppin' real soon.

T5: Oh, shit... I didn't know about that hidden track. You caught me sleepin'. So back to Traffic... What's up with the Dallas store?? Is that your baby also??

LAW: Yessir!!! Shots out to my partner Corey for holdin it down out there. New Orleans to Dallas and now to Atlanta in September. And hopefully NYC next year.

Curren$y and Law

T5: Hell yeah! Mad props! This is the kind of forward thinking this city needs... So what brands are popping off right now in Traffic?? What releases are you looking forward to?

LAW: the hottest brands to the people on the streets are Play Cloths, Crooks & Castles, Married to the Mob, 3rd I.D. 10 Deep, Supra Mnwka, and always our local designers.. And im looking forward to the release of my brand "Life of Luxury" (L.o.L.) this fall...

T5: A lot of hype has been surrounding Kanye and his place in haute couture... What do you think about it?? And what do you think of the term hipster??

LAW: I think its cool to see someone make a move from music to being one of the biggest names in the fashion industry.. 500.00 for air yeezy's. He has his own LV (Louis Vuitton) sneakers.. Wow! That means if I stay focused and make the right moves I can do the same thing. Now the term of hipster can go both ways, but some kids are taking it way to far. And I really don't like how people are just getting down with the movement just because it's popular. Just because you wear a backpack that dont make you fresh. That's wack and if you're doing that you're a fake hipster. lmao...

T5: Well put. Do what you feel, like what you like, but do it for you. I'm with it. So sounds like you've got one helluva 5 year plan... You gotta keep me up to date on the ATL store opening, the NYC store opening and your clothing line... Any parting words for the people?? Shout outs?

LAW: oh, here are my shout outs! GOD first always, the entire Supreme Street Team, the Traffic Boutique Family, J-roc, Team Finale, Justin & Kenneth, Dj Spin, Force Feed, Cracktracks all the locals Dj's, all the local artists, all the streetwear designers in New Orleans, and you, thanks for keeping the dj vibe alive down here. Uptown 4 Life!

Y'all can catch up with Law at Traffic Boutique (of course), and don't forget to add http://www.myspace.com/trafficboutique and he's got a Streetwear Sundays blog http://streetwearsundays.blogspot.com/ and just wrapped on the first "Sneaker Fiend Expo" yesterday, which was a super hot event. I think we are going to be hearing big things from Law in the future so y'all should keep up with him. You can also follow @trafficboutique on twitter to keep up to date with new drops and sales...

5kratchere OUT!!!!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Soundclash Wrap up (via my G1)

shitzpoppinov, right now in the city.

Friday, June 12, 2009

It's a Soundclash Weekend!!!

Maaaannnn, it's that time again folks... Of course you know next month the Special Edition SoundClash will be DMC New Orleans... Wow how time flies!!

Friday Night @ the Howlin' Wolf...

Look for an action-packed night of performances featuring the city's top "true school" hip-hop artists and production from some of the area's best beatsmiths. With sounds from Beat Doctor (who has produced for B.G., and Lil Boosie), OT (who has producer for Nappy Roots and Bust Down) as well as local talents like Prospek, Crummy Productions, The Cincinnati Monster 3rd Shift and Mickalo. E.F. Cuttin of Psychoward DJ's will serve as DJ for the night.

Live performances include live fusion band Floopy Head serving as house band, Soundclash host Lyrikill, Jimi Clever, A Levy, Blvd Boy, Lafayette's Swell and Wyzdom 360, Mister Wayne ft. The I.C.U. and Jack Spratt. The night will be hosted by the energetic and comical local comedian Rusty LowDown. There will be special invited guests from all areas of the entertainment industry as well as giveaways from Soundclash affiliates so be sure to show up early. Door charge is $10 with $5 presale tickets available from performers and Soundclash staff.

Saturday Night @ the Blue Nile...

The next day will play host to New Orleans' Premier Beat Battle at Blue Nile (Upstairs) on featuring the city's most talented producers fighting for the title of Soundclash Champion with live performances from Da Sic Kidz, Konfo, and Dee-1. Each of these artists has been making a name for themselves with Dee-1 being featured in Times Picayune and XXL, while Konfo has signs a deal with Koch Records. This event will feature a rematch of last month's controversial KutCre@or vs. Quest battle (which Quest won). This event will be also hosted by Rusty LowDown with emcee Lyrikill. For reviews of the previous battles, check us out at www.youtube.com/thesoundclash or www.thesoundclash.com. Cover charge is $5

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The voice of lil' Doogie is on twitter...

Ya heard me?? None other than Odoms, the man behind the puppet, has a twitter. Let's hope he starts using it more often. Yo brah! I'm a huge fan holler at me!! You can follow him on twitter @odomsyeah !! Maybe if enough folks follow him, he'll start talking back. Next up... a lil' Doogie twitter???? Well, I can dream can't I brah??

Keeping Up With the Jetsons from Odoms on Vimeo.

Aaaaannnnnnddddd..... One of my favorite Doogie videos which should prime y'all for my upcoming Dirty Coast feature...

Doogie Shirts (uncensored) from lil Doogie on Vimeo.

You can catch up with the genius that is Odoms at either lildoogie.com Or www.odomsyeah.com
He just released a solo album entitled Let Me Atom so check that isht out brah!!! You can get them @ Domino Record Shack, the Mushroom and More Fun Comics NOW!!

Rules of Culture IN THE HOUSE!!!!!

So in the spirit of communication, education, art and literature, I told y'all that I would be interviewing local artists and the movers and shakers here in the local scene that wish to be represented. My first interview is with Fi3ld. He lives and works in Shreveport (only temporarily folks keep your fingers crossed). We go back a few years and I'm glad that he is the first person I interview on this blog.

Fi3ld and Dj 360 Degrees getting down in the studio!!!

So, I tried for about a week to get a good interview with Fi3ld from Rules of Culture. We emailed back and forth and this is the transcript:

T5: So yeah, I know that you've been around for a while... Tell the people about yourself:

Fi3ld: Alrite people . . . I go by Fi3Ld (pronounced Field or Fee-uld) and I'm a hip hop head, advocate & connoisseur. Hip hop gets the utmost respect from me because it provided an avenue to discover and define my true self. I'm an MC and graphic designer whose sole mission is to preserve a culture that had a profound impact on me, so that it might do the same for somebody else.

Define yours...

T5: Tell me about Sandia and Rules of Culture:

Fi3ld: Sandia is merely an outlet created by DJ 360 Degrees & myself for our hip hop and drum n bass releases. The name is taken from a US government contractor lab specializing in nuclear weapons research. It's all about dropping bombs . . .

Rules of Culture is a totally different beast. It's an assembly of like minded cats who bring a different piece to the puzzle. The motto is 'Define Yours,' which refers to the ability to utilize any of the 4 elements of hip hop to express yourself. The only constant within the RoC fam is you've gotta believe in your craft if the crew is gonna have your back. This provides for a network of talented cats who can provide insight to each other's projects, giving a more well rounded result.

T5: Hip AND DnB humbrah??! Which came first your love for Hip Hop or your love for DnB??

Fi3ld: Obviously the hip hop came first because it was around first . . . My dad got me 3 cassettes back in the gap : Beastie Boys' License to Ill, Run DMC's Raisin Hell, and LL Cool J's Bigger and Deffer . . . Now you've got to understand the scenario - A single, law enforcement employed father, raising 2 boys in the South in the 1980's, so it's safe to assume he bought me these tapes as a joke . . . Well, I promptly learned the tracks, then busted in his room and said, "Get out your video camera, I need you to go ahead and film this music video . . . " The video was of the track "I'm Bad," and featured me in our dirty trailer, suited up in a sweatshirt with no sleeves and some jams doing some spastic moves to the entire track - and if you know the track - IT'S LONG! But that was the thing that got me then and catches me now when he breaks the video out - it's the serious demeanor with which all of this went down . . . no laughing (on my part, at least), no jokes - just a 9 year old white boy who was REALLY FEELING THE MUSIC, regardless of the social or political opinions of ANYBODY . . . and THAT is why hip hop is so important to me, because it wasn't just a fleeting fad but a lifestyle and culture . . .

As far as DnB goes, hip hop played a huge part in that as well . . . As you know, Louisiana is home to New Orleans, which in turn, is home to the State Palace Theater . . . So in the mid to late 90's, I, along with other kids had to break out of Northern Louisiana and come down that way to see what all the fuss was about . . . Well after a party or two, I found myself a little disappointed that this new electronic music culture didn't give me the same feelings that hip hop did when I was first turned on to it . . . So I'm walking by this side room and I hear some of that good hip hop being blended with this electronic music so I stopped and started asking questions . . . Turns out I'm listening to a DJ from Dallas named Squirt who was a very influential character in the Southern DnB scene around that time . . . Well I grabbed a few tapes from him (The Yellow Tape!) and started following this culture very seriously . . . After studying the roots and history of it, I wanted to try my hand at it . . . I started mashing hip hop & DnB together, first as a DJ, then as an MC, meeting and teaming up with several extremely talented artists and musicians along the way (big up SODL & OTB SoundSystem!) So many heads these days are either one or the other when it comes to these two styles, but since the both had a great impact on me, I've always wanted to do what I can to give back to these cultures in my own way . . .

T5: Well... not only are you known for being a DNB/Hip Hop MC, you're also an amazing graphic designer. You seem to have your hands in a lot of cookie jars. Any other projects you want to tell me about??

Fi3ld: Thanks for the props on the graphics bro . . . don't you still owe me some lessons??? Nah, between graphics, music, my wife & soon-to-be child, I've about used up any spare time or energy I may have had available . . . As far as the graphics go, I've always been an art aficionado, but it kinda got moved to the side when I started concentrating full time on music . . . But after Katrina & Rita ripped the coast, I picked it back up, mainly to promote unity among a torn & rebuilding culture down this way . . . I started back up doing graphics for Louisianadnb.com and before long, I was so booked up with websites, logos, flyers & album art, that I really didn't have time to finish my album that I was originally working on . . . So I put all that on a couple month hiatus, finished & dropped the album, "It's Always Something" (shameless plug) and continued working on graphics for a lot of these local cats . . . Through this, I've been exposed to a huge music culture throughout the South that I never knew existed . . . and in case you didn't know - this region is FULL of talented people who do really good things - musically, graphically & culturally . . . As far my music schedule goes, I'm working on collaborative projects with a handful of people including: DJ Wally (DnB & hip hop projects), Reverend Scooter Jackson (Brown River Bizness), Twin Brothers Darkness (Saturn's Pattern), Kryptic Soul System, Company of Strangaz & a grip of slept on producers such as: Kaneda (Jonesboro), Noir Ghost (Houston) & Stik2daTrakz (Houma - this kid is unbelievable!!!) . . . Being a product of such wide range of influences, I'm down to work with just about anybody on anything, being that they're down to put in work as well . . .

T5: Well SIR, it seems like you're an extremely smart and driven humid being who's setting himself up for success. Congrats on your little MC-to-be. I know we'll be seeing and hearing a helluva lot more from you. Any last words, shout outs etc...??

Shouts... Okay here we go . . . First & foremost to my wife Brittney - she's my number one supporter & inspiration - that might sound cheesy, but get you one that's down for you and you'll say the same! Next up - Rules of Culture crew & fam - Kaneda, DJ 360 Degrees, Reverend Scooter Jackson, Gary & Loki of Twin Brothers Darkness, E Phlat, C. Omen AKA Fairchild, Clizzy Houston, Sham1, StikTrakz, Jinks AKA Franklin Yellownore Roosevelt, Skip Gregory, Lance L., Kid Klymaxx, Chris Garcia, Ribbz & DocStafari of Kryptic Soul System, Slim Poche' AKA Cisco Kid, Damien Echols, Damabala & Indo . . . extended fam goes something like this: oTTo, Kaotic & Verbal of Company of Strangaz, DJ Wally AKA Pish Posh, Papa Zero & Son of a Blitch from Dead PA and Gray Matter & MC Exact of Illegal Alias . . . Finally, to all other influences & inspirations I've come across over the past few, like: Resin of Louisianadnb, E-Merge, Greenleaf, Beebe, Simian & Gris Gris of Below C Level, Brix & the Dragon's Den, Black Swan of Louisiana Dubstep, Syllable 7 & the Got Green cats, Tony 5kratchere, Paul B, La Kid, Seryical, Selekta Olu & Club Culture, Tester of Trilogy Sound, Truth Universal, Caligula, MC Collaborator, Swell, Unprdktbl MC AKA Yung Foe, and J-Dub of Sp00M and everybody else who continues to push our music, art & culture for the sake of its' integrity . . . that SHOULD be it, but I'm sure I left SOMEBODY out!

Fi3ld & Dj 360 Degrees with the fisheye lens!!!

You can get in touch with Fi3ld through his myspace: myspace.com/fi3ld Give him a friend request, check out his music and shoot him some comments. He's always down for a collab and if you need some graphic design, there really is no one better. So everyone thank Fi3ld for the information and for giving me a some never before published pics of Fi3ld and 360!! Thanks homie!!!

You can check Fi3ld out live on July 3rd with Aphrodite at the Warehouse in Shreveport, July 4th at the Dragon's Den for Truth Universal's GRASSROOTS monthly hip hop showcase!!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

So how'd this all happen??

Well truthfully it really began with Geo's message board at www.turntablistnetwork.com

I first signed up circa 2005 looking for new battles to enter and hoping to network with good deejays all over the country in hopes that I could step my game up. At first I was intimidated and I lurked for a couple of months while I worked up the courage to post. There were all sorts of crazy discussions going on, comedy, weird videos, original music, random events, and general good-natured shit talking.

"Who were these 'Trooperz'?"

"Who was this 'Fat Fingaz' with his giant red letters?"

Eventually I began posting and I became involved in all sorts of crazy, off color discussions with topics ranging from pop culture to intense political dialogue. What tied us all together was the common thread of deejay battles. Over the years, battles began to die out... ITF (International Turntablist Federation), thanks Alex Aquino, Guitar Center's Spin Off, Vinyl Kombat, The All-Star Beatdown, Kool Mixx, etc... all disappeared. POOF!

The discussions became more and more a reflection of what was currently happening to Hip Hop and there was the lingering question,

"Is hip hop dead/dying??"

Re-enter Christie Z-Pabon...(you may recognize Christie, as she had a cameo in the Doug Pray documentary film, Scratch)

Christie Z-Pabon was the head of DMC USA for a time in the late 90's through 2000, argueably some of the best years of American Competition. Christie left her post to work on Tools of War a Grassroots Hip Hop PR/A&R company. She began resurrecting the Park Jams of the 70's and 80's via FREE ALL AGES summer events at parks all over New York City. Well, Christie came back in 2007 to attempt to revive DMC USA which frankly hadn't done so hot in her absence.

I digress.

Christie Z is also a moderator of Dj Geometrix's message board, and I asked if there was anything I could do to help. The seed had been planted... We messaged each other back and forth and eventually exchanged phone numbers, and I began to make my dream of bringing this battle to New Orleans a reality. After a failed attempt in 2008, I began work shortly after the January 1st 2009. With the help of Grassroots New Orleans, Truth Universal, Soundclash, Lyrikill, Dj Soul Sister, the GoDjs, Louisiana DNB, and my friends who really believed in me, I proceeded to walk a path that no one has walked.

I want to thank all my family on Geo's board:

Christie Z, Sally Mclintock, I-Dee, Quix, Geometrix, Dj Supreme, Marcus Pinn, Image, Eddy the Dj, Dini, AS One, Dj Revel, Fatfingaz, Manils, Gizmo, Loop Skywalker, Steel, Solo, Precision, Rob Swift, Roc Raida, Ty Handswell, Marilyn Sasha, Esquire, Rugged One, Etronik, Mr. B, Teeko, Swan... Glad to know y'all. Can't wait until the US Finals!!!

I want to thank my New Orleans family:

Beverly Skillz, EF Cuttin, Dj Soul Sister, Lyrikill, Truth Universal, my Handsome Willy's family, Supercool Dj Kazu, Brice Nice, Prospek, the GPC, D.O.N., Impulss, Know One, Able Chris, Soapbox, Dj Real, Sqratchmo, Private Pile, Twen Bums, Dubla Music, Tygah Woods, ARAjay, Doomsday Device, Mercure, Dj Spin, Dj BlacknMild, Force Feed Radio, Damion Yancey, Edward Maximillion, Rik Ducci, Hektik, 3d Na'tee, Bomshell Boogie, Raj Smoove, Dj Hollaback, all my GoDj fam, Proppa Bear, Resin, Yellow Frank, C-Bass, Bones, El Williams, Mike Swift, Poochy Rivera, Da U Boys, ICU, Ben Brubaker, Holly Hobbs, Jeff B, Rob Brunet, Jay Skillz, Ally Bea, Tia Dame and anyone else I forgot... I couldn't have done this without y'all.

Thus it begins...

You can check Christie Z out at Tools Of War and DMC USA Drop her a line. Check out her FREE PARK JAMS happening every weekend in NYC. She's on Facebook also...

You can check out www.turntablistnetwork.com, follow @djgeometrix @dj_i_dee on twitter... Check out the message board for all random goings on in the world of deejaying.

Also check out my friend Gizmo across the ocean in the UK at www.skratchworx.com and www.skratchlounge.com

Also follow @dmcchamps and @sallyDMC on twitter, and while you're at it follow me too @tony5kratchere

Don't forget to add our myspace... DMC NOLA


Peace y'all... More later!